What are the most filling foods?
People sometimes refer to the feeling of fullness as satiety. In 1995, researchers at the University of Sydney put together a satiety index to measure how effectively various foods achieve satiety. In their experiment, participants ate different foods and gave a rating of how full they were after 2 hours.
Eating foods that satisfy hunger can help control calorie consumption. For example, eating a meal that contains filling foods is likely to reduce portion size and snacking between meals. This can aid weight management by cutting the overall calories a person consumes in a day.
Many unhealthful foods are not satiating. Highly processed foods or those high in sugar often have lower satiety scores. Avoiding these foods in favor of those with high satiety scores will have health benefits and offset hunger better.
In this article, we list seven foods with high satiety scores that may help to keep people full for longer than others. Including these foods in the diet can be a useful way to control calorie intake and improve overall health:
Boiled or baked potato
Potatoes are a dense food that are rich in healthful nutrients.
In the original satiety index study, boiled or baked potatoes had the highest score of 323. Fried potatoes had a relatively low score of 116.
One 2013 study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism gave participants four different side dishes with white bread as a reference food.
They found potato-based meals were effective at reducing appetite, relative to the other side dishes.
Pulses are highly nutritious and include foods such as beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils. They are also slowly digestible carbohydrates with high protein and fiber contents.
These nutritional benefits mean pulses are good foods for offsetting hunger and managing calorie intake, according to a 2010 study in the journal Advances in Nutrition.
A 2014 systematic review in the journal Obesity found evidence that pulses were useful for providing immediate satiety but not for food intake that people consume at their next meal.
Fiber is an essential dietary component. It serves many functions, such as helping to control blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
High-fiber foods include:
- whole-wheat bread
- vegetables such as carrots or beetroot
- fruits such as bananas and oranges
Low-fat dairy products
Increasing consumption of low-fat dairy products could promote satiety and reduce food intake in the short term.
For example, one study in the journal Appetite found that high-protein Greek yogurts were effective at offsetting hunger, increasing satiety, and reducing further consumption.
Eggs are excellent sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They also have a beneficial effect on reducing hunger and extending satiety.
A study from 2011 in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition gave participants a lunch of omelet, jacket potato, or a chicken sandwich. Those who consumed the omelet had greater satiety than those eating the carbohydrate meal 4 hours later, leading to the conclusion that an omelet meal at lunchtime may reduce calorie consumption between meals.
Nuts are effective at increasing satiety.
Nuts are high in protein and unsaturated fats, which are healthful fats.
These unsaturated fats have a range of benefits and are different from the saturated fats found in many unhealthful foods.
Nuts may be a high-calorie food, but they are nutritionally rich and effective at increasing satiety.
Eating nuts as a snack may help to satiate hunger between meals, without leading to weight gain.
Lean meat and fish
Both meat and fish are high in protein and low in saturated fat. Diets that contain high levels of protein can effectively control appetite and promote weight loss. This includes vegetarian proteins, for example, soy, according to another study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Filling foods typically have a range of health benefits and can support weight management.
Most foods that are high in fiber or protein are typically good for promoting satiety. Other characteristics of specific foods can also make them filling, such as having a high water density.
Foods that are highly processed or high in sugars often only satisfy hunger for a relatively short time. These foods are usually low in nutritional content and have few health benefits.